AKC News // Dublin City council pursues developers over failure to pay infrastructure levy

Developers of 70 separate building schemes are facing legal action from Dublin City Council for their failure to pay development contributions levied as a condition of planning permission.

City manager John Tierney has told the Department of the Environment's local government auditor that the council has served 20 enforcement orders and sent 50 warning letters to developers who had failed to pay up.

Mr Tierney was responding to the auditor's report on the council's accounts for 2007. Principal auditor Richard Murphy found the council lacked a proper accounting system for dealing with development contributions.

Mr Murphy's report highlighted the money spent in relation to the five social housing regeneration schemes which Bernard McNamara was to build under Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the council. The council lost approximately €5 million following the collapse of the deals earlier this year, Mr Murphy found.

Developers of residential or commercial schemes, as a condition of planning permission, must pay a levy towards council costs of providing water, roads and sewerage for their developments. Levies are €13,908 per unit for residential projects and €132 per sq m for commercial or industrial schemes.

Mr Tierney told the auditor that the council is pursuing outstanding debts, and a new accounting system would be in use by the end of the year.

Mr Murphy said it remained unclear what the outcome of the PPP projects would be. He would review the council's progress on the matter in next year's audit.

Mr Tierney said council management has sought legal advice on how to avoid "over-exposure to one bidder" in the future.

With a cut of almost seven per cent in local government fund allocation to the council for 2009, development levies will become a crucial source of funding.

Ensuring developers paid up was essential, Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said.

Source: Olivia Kelly in The Irish Times

Date : 05-11-2008